WE share United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's view that the Syrian crisis represents the "biggest challenge to peace and security in the world" today.
Anyone who doubts the veracity of that analysis need only examine what has happened in the two-and-a-half years since the Syrian people revolted against the repressive Bashar al-Assad regime on the wave of the Arab spring.
More than 110,000 people have been killed in the fighting between rebel and government forces, an estimated four million people have been internally displaced, and at least two million Syrians have fled their homeland to neighbouring countries.
The upshot has been the creation of a massive refugee problem for Syria's neighbours. Late last week we learnt that European Union (EU) governments are bracing for a surge in Syrian refugees as hopes fade for a quick end to the deadly civil war.
Thousands of Syrians, we are told, are seeking a new life in the EU, especially in the more affluent member states. Italy, we understand, is among the worst affected nations; with approximately 3,000 refugees entering that country in August alone.
Yesterday, in his state of the world address to open the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Ban urged the UN Security Council to adopt an "enforceable" resolution on the US/Russia framework agreement to dismantle Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons.
Mr Ban, rightfully, wants the international community to work at getting both sides in the Syria conflict to the negotiating table.
We believe that differences, no matter how great, can be resolved by dialogue. However, given President al-Assad's demand that, in exchange for Syria giving up its chemical weapons, the United States must first stop arming the Syrian opposition, and his requirement that Israel ratify the chemical weapons pact, we don't foresee any such dialogue happening soon.
It is against that background that we agree with US President Barack Obama that the UN Security Council should agree to hold the al-Assad regime responsible if it fails to live up to the terms of the framework agreement.
President Obama, we hold, is correct in stating that if the UN cannot agree on holding Damascus to its pledge, the world will regard the UN as being "incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws".
As to who is responsible for the chemical weapons attack on civilians on August 21, that sparked world outrage, we join with Secretary General Ban in recommending that the crime be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
Those guilty of such a dastardly act should not be allowed to live free of confinement.